Last week, we were excited to host Forum 4: Landing the Job, a panel discussion about professional interviewing. If you couldn’t be there, here are some highlights from each of our stellar speakers.
Justin Kunkel, Director of Strategy, andCulture (Harrisburg)
“There has to be something you could do better at a prior job.”
As a former reporter, Justin has the interviewing thing down pat. He told us about how he decided to ask one of his interviewees about her experience working at Subway. Obviously the “Sandwich Artist” kind of job isn’t exactly perfect preparation for working at an agency, but he asked a good question: “If there was one thing you could change about Subway, what would it be?” Surely, he thought, there would be dozens of things worth changing. But her answer was nothing. Don’t let your answer be nothing—show off your critical thinking skills, even if asked about something seemingly unrelated to the job.
Lauren Bittner, Recruiter, The BOSS Group (Philadelphia)
“Be able to adapt and take charge.”
Not every interviewer will know how to do the job they’re interviewing you for—HR reps, recruiters, even department heads might not be able to out-do your Photoshop skills or even talk color theory the way you can. That’s okay, said Lauren, because it’s an opportunity to take charge and show you know your stuff (not in a condescending way, of course). Be ready to adapt during an interview and prove you have great communication skills with the way you present and tell stories about your work (because it’s not in your portfolio if you can’t talk about it, right?).
Kristine Newswanger, Managing Principal, Modo Design (Lancaster)
“Tell your story as it relates to us.”
A common interviewing mistake is not doing your homework on a company before walking into the interview. Guess what? You can’t fake that kind of knowledge, especially when you’re talking to a co-owner like Kristine. But she told us to take it one step further and make sure you’re not just talking about how great you are as a potential employee—talk about how you fit with the company. What do you bring that they don’t already have? What are they doing that you’re excited to be a part of? On top of showing you care, doing this kind of research helps you be sure this is a company you really want to join.
Lynda Marinakos, Manager of Talent Acquisition, QVC (Philadelphia)
“Be honest about what you’re looking to make.”
A recruiter for more than 15 years, Lynda knows the real deal when she sees it. She knows what she’s looking for, and she wants to cut to the chase—which is why she recommends being open and honest about your salary requirements if asked. It’s perfectly acceptable to provide a range, but it’s important for her as a recruiter to know if you’re even in the right ballpark for what the position can offer. Find out what you should be making with AIGA and Aquent’s Survey of Design Salaries for 2012, complete with salary calculator and geographic adjustments.
Thanks to all of our panelists for their knowledge, the Candy Factory for hosting, Tennison Photography for shooting the event (check out the great photos on Flickr), our volunteers, and everyone who came out for the event. We hope you continue the conversation and land the design job of your dreams.